Albarello vase, Italian, 16th century, from Faenza, polychrome maiolica, portrait of Horatio
The portrait painted on the side of this albarello is of Horatius Publius Cocles. He was a Roman military hero who single-handedly defended a bridge into Rome against the Etruscan army while the bridge was being destroyed and then swam back to Rome. Pictures of him are a common feature on vases from the Faenza region of Italy.
The jar was used to store Sciroppo di Stecade, Italian for “Syrup of French Lavender”. The syrup was used to treat disorders of the brain and nerves, including paralysis, epilepsy, spasms, tremors and pain.